FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The New England Revolution have signed 18-year-old midfielder Jack Panayotou of Cambridge to a Homegrown Player contract.
Panayotou, a graduate of the New England Revolution Academy and the 2022 UnitedHealthcare Revolution Academy Player of the Year, is the 10th Homegrown Player signing in Revolution history. The Homegrown Player Rule allows Major League Soccer teams to sign local players from their own development academies directly to MLS first team rosters.
WBZ NewsRadio spoke with Panayotou about playing soccer as a kid and the grind it took to make it to the Revolution.
"Practiced every single day," said Panayotou. "Maybe two practices a day. Looking back I don't know how I stayed healthy the whole time, but when you're a kid, you're young and you're enjoying it. It's just so fun to be out there."
Arlington native and fellow Academy graduate Noel Beck, 17, signed with the Revolution to a Homegrown Player contract in 2022 and had a similar work ethic growing up.
"Two teams at times, three teams at times," Beck told WBZ NewsRadio. "You know, I just love to play, whether it be in the backyard or for a team."
The Revolution Academy, located at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough where the Revolution play, currently has around 90 kids on the roster, ages 12-18.
"Our goal is to make sure our community has a really strong foundation of soccer players," said Revolution Technical Director Curt Onalfo.
When asked how parents of youth soccer players can eventually see their own kids play for the Revolution, Onalfo said, "Don't yell at them when they're kicking the ball in the house and they're breaking windows and everything else. Inevitably, that's going to happen, and that's the way you become great. You wake up in the morning, you're kicking a soccer ball--after training, in-between sessions, at night, juggling all that kind of stuff. If you really want your kid to be at the highest level, they have to be doing those type of things."
"Do little things every day that add up and show meaningful results," Panayotou advised.
"You just got to have fun. That's the most important thing," Beck said.
WBZ's Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) reports.